More than 180 Central Okanagan teachers sponsor student teachers in the classroom
Over the past several months, more than 350 teachers in elementary and secondary schools throughout BC's Southern Interior – including more than 180 Central Okanagan teachers – have shared their classrooms with student teachers from the Faculty of Education at UBC's Okanagan campus.
Student teachers are required to have nine to 13 weeks of practical, in-class experience to obtain teaching certification. Sponsors have opened their classrooms to more than 250 student teachers in the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan-Shuswap, Vernon and Okanagan-Skaha districts, as well as schools in Rossland, 100 Mile House, Princeton, Kamloops, and as far afield as Sooke on Vancouver Island.
"It is in the schools, working with real students and experienced sponsor teachers, that our teacher candidates begin to bring to life education theory," notes Education professor Carol Scarff, Undergraduate Programs Coordinator. "It is in the classroom that they begin to develop that sense of practical wisdom and ethical know-how."
The connections between student teachers and their sponsors are arranged by Harold Derksen and Anne MacLean, School Experience Coordinators with the Faculty of Education.
"The practicum is mandatory for certification and relies heavily on the benevolence of sponsor teachers," says MacLean. "It really is a generous thing they do -- we have some sponsor teachers who take students every year or every other year."
The impact of sponsor teachers can be extraordinary, says MacLean.
"Students are different people when they have finished their practicum," she says. "They have a clearer sense of purpose and an increased passion for making a positive contribution in the lives of young learners. It is often during practicum that our student teachers shift from being students to being teachers."
While the practicum is a crucial part of a new teacher's experience, the teachers who sponsor and mentor them usually don't get much recognition.
"Really, they are unsung heroes," Derksen says. "We call them future shapers – they're investing in the next generation of teachers."
Derksen explains that many professions and trades have apprentice programs where wisdom and knowledge of experience is translated to those with less experience.
"This is especially true in a profession such as teaching," says Derksen. "The vital link between theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge is the sponsor teacher. Student-teacher programs depend on the expertise and wisdom of competent classroom teachers to provide practical experience for teaching apprentices. We have been tremendously fortunate to have such great relationships with so many wonderful sponsors and mentors throughout the province."
The Faculty of Education offers sponsor teachers UBC library privileges and a discount at the UBC bookstore as a way of acknowledging their hard work. Sponsors also receive a certificate of a limited edition print. And next fall, Derksen and MacLean hope to offer several professional development opportunities for sponsor teachers.
Central Okanagan schools with sponsors this year:
|School District 23 - Central Okanagan|
|Anne McClymont Elementary||5|
|A.S. Matheson Elementary||2|
|Black Mountain Elementary||3|
|Chief Tomat Elementary||2|
|Chute Lake Elementary||2|
|Davidson Road Elementary||3|
|Dorothea Walker Elementary||2|
|George Pringle Elementary||2|
|Helen Gorman Elementary||3|
|Hudson Road Elementary||1|
|North Glenmore Elementary||3|
|Peter Greer Elementary||2|
|Rose Valley Elementary||3|
|Shannon Lake Elementary||4|
|South Kelowna Elementary||2|
|South Rutland Elementary||3|
|Watson Road Elementary||3|
|Constable Neil Bruce Middle||4|
|Dr. Knox Middle||5|
|George Elliot Secondary||12|
|Mount Boucherie Secondary||20|
|Okanagan Mission Secondary||7|
|Rutland Middle School||12|
|Rutland Senior Secondary||11|
|St. Joseph Elementary||5|
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